8th January 2008
Gay hate bill returns to Commons 5
11:40 AM — MPs will debate the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill tomorrow, which includes a new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.Ann Widdecombe, a Roman Catholic former Tory minister, today defended her opposition to the bill.The government and the frontbenches of the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives both support the legislation, but MPs from the three main parties have signed up to the amendment.
7th January 2008
Anti-gay bishop in trouble after inflammatory Muslim comments 30
2:45 PM — A senior Church of England clergyman best-known for his opposition to equality for gay people has been heavily criticised for making inflammatory comments about Britain's Muslim community.The Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in a newspaper article that parts of the country have become "no-go areas" because of extremist Muslims and suggested that mosques stop using speakers to broadcast the call to prayer.The bishop has previously spoken out against the Sexual Orientation Regulations and civil partnerships.
Barrowman: closeted actors are “just sad” 6
12:37 PM — Torchwood leading man John Barrowman has criticised gay stars who refuse to come out of the closet.The openly gay actor said his sexuality did not influence the kind of roles you got offered as an actor and believes it is "just sad" that someone would deny their sexuality to the world."If it (being gay) has been a problem, no-one ever told me so. I know people who lie about being gay because they think it will affect their work chances."
Christian registrar refuses to perform civil partnerships 11
12:05 PM — An official in the London Borough of Islington is taking the council to court because she claims she should be exempted from performing civil partnership ceremonies.The unnamed marriage registrar, who is a devout Christian, has refused to take part in any of the 600-plus civil partnerships entered into in the borough since they became legal just over two years ago.Yesterday an Islington council spokesperson told the Evening Standard:"A claim has been made to an employment tribunal."
Erect Jesus statue stirs controversy among Christians 8
11:23 AM — An art gallery in the North East is under fire after exhibiting a 1ft high statue of Jesus with an erection.The artwork, by gay Chinese-born artist Terence Koh, is being exhibited by the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.The gallery has received complaints from Christians and visitors alike who argue the sculpture degrades the Christian faith. Koh's exhibition, entitled Gone, Yet Still, consists of 74 plaster models, ranging from statues of Mickey Mouse to ET, all with full erections.
6th January 2008
Elton John likely to hold fundraising dinner for Paddick 1
3:20 PM — Sir Elton John and his partner, the film producer David Furnish, are thought to be preparing to hold a fundraising dinner for Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.Brian Paddick, previously the most senior openly gay police officer in Britain told LBC last month that he was likely to be backed by the celebrity couple. They have an enviable address book and have consistently shown their stellar ability to raise money, particularly for Sir Elton's AIDs foundation.
4th January 2008
Gay Tory to star in TV comedy
5:04 PM — A former Big Brother contestant who was once a Conservative parliamentary candidate may star in a remake of a controversial 1970s television programme.Derek Laud, who also worked as a speechwriter for several leading Tories and as a lobbyist at Westminster, is an unusual figure in the party, a black, camp and openly gay man.He was a contestant in the sixth series of reality show Big Brother, which was eventually won by Anthony Hutton.
Magistrate to re-appeal over gay adoption row 9
3:01 PM — A former magistrate who claimed unfair dismissal after he was told he could not pick and choose which adoption cases to rule on is to appeal for the second time.In March 64-year-old Andrew McClintock's legal action against the Lord Chancellor, claiming that his Bible-influenced opinions should allow him to be excused from approving gay adoptions, was rejected by an employment tribunal."Gay couples have human rights too," the tribunal said.
Elton’s concert could help gays says Tatchell 3
1:32 PM — Sir Elton John has sparked controversy by setting a concert date in Abu Dhabi later this month.Homosexuality is punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years in the country and there is general discrimination towards homosexuals in the United Arab Emirates.Peter Tatchell, gay human rights campaigner from OutRage!, said:"In early 2006, the United Arab Emirates imposed six years jail on 11 gay men arrested at a private party."
Why women and gay men could drive you round the bend 4
1:20 PM — Gay men and women are most likely to get lost driving on unknown roads, according to a new study.Psychologists at Queen Mary, University of London, announced their findings after computer-based tests on 140 volunteers showed gay men and women performed worse than heterosexual men in tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness.Dr Qazi Rahman, who led the team of researchers, believed it showed women relied on local landmarks to navigate, and are slower to take in spatial information.
3rd January 2008
Brighton hosts its 1,000th civil partnership 4
5:50 PM — Almost two years to the day that they became a legal reality, a lesbian couple became the 1,000th couple to enter into a civil partnership in Brighton.Company director Sue McCall and Emma Grose-McCall, a lawyer, have been together for six years. They signed the civil register at Brighton Register Office on 22nd December."We had a quiet ceremony but its something we've wanted for some time," said Emma.
Muslim leaders back Ken for third term as Mayor 3
4:35 PM — The re-election of Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London is in the best interests of Muslims, according to 63 leading Islamic figures.Imams and community leaders have signed a statement pledging support for his campaign for a third term in office, citing his support for the Palestinian people and opposition to UK policy in Iraq as key reasons to support him.Ihtisham Hibatullah from the British Muslim Initiative, told The Guardian: "He supports religious freedom."
Christian MP defends opposition to gay hate law 24
2:02 PM — A Liberal Democrat MP has defended an amendment designed to ensure that homophobic Christians can continue to express their views on gay people.Colin Breed, who is a lay Methodist preacher, claims that the move, which is also supported by Ann Widdecombe, is about "freedom of speech."The amendment to the Criminal Justice bill seeks to block a proposed new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Sperm donor child support case under review
12:10 PM — A man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple and was subsequently made to pay child support has revealed that his case is being reviewed by the Child Support Agency.Andy Bathie, a 37-year-old fireman from London, provided sperm to civil partners Sharon and Terri Arnold.As this was a private arrangement not organised through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), he is legally the father.
Postmortem reveals DJ died of heart attack 2
11:45 AM — One of the first out gay DJs on BBC Radio 1 died after taking large quantities of ecstasy, cocaine and GHB.Postmortem results on Kevin Greening, 44, indicate he suffered a heart attack.An un-named man in his 50s was arrested at the Wandsworth address where Greening's body was found on Saturday evening and questioned by detectives on suspicion of murder and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Straight bouncer wins damages from gay club 1
11:20 AM — A heterosexual woman has been awarded more than £6,000 in damages from Bournemouth's largest gay nightclub.Sharon Legg, a 33-year-old mum of four, took her case to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal after being sacked without warning."I made this complaint for gay people, straight people, anyone who has ever been harassed. I'm like a bulldog, I don't let go," Ms Legg told the Dorset Echo .
Interview: David Heath on incitement to homophobic hatred 5
10:40 AM — As Lib Dem spokesperson on Justice, David Heath is a comforting contrast to the Cleggs and Huhnes of the party.Big, bearded, thoughtful yet jocular, the 53-year-old is a substantial politician in more ways than one, and in his present role he shadows one of the remaining big beasts of the Labour party, Jack Straw.Heath is very much of his constituency, Somerton and Frome. He was born in the Mendip Hills of Somerset and was leader of the county's council at the age of 31.
2nd January 2008
Police chief’s drugs stance attacked by MP 1
4:40 PM — Labour MP Chris Bryant has attacked as "dangerous" views expressed by North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom that ecstasy is safer than tobacco, alcohol and aspirin.Mr Brunstrom told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the scare mongering around ecstasy was not borne out by fact."If you look at the government's own research you will find that ecstasy by comparison to many other substances, legal and illegal, is a comparatively safe substance," he said.
Minister to attend Schools OUT conference 8
1:45 PM — Kevin Brennan, a junior minister at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, will be one of the keynote speakers at an LGBT education event next month.The Schools OUT annual conference will be held on February 2nd in the Drill Hall in central London.Founded in 1974, Schools OUT Works towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in education.
PinkNews.co.uk list highlights lack of female representation 55
11:50 AM — A snapshot of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people in British politics has revealed that women are seriously under-represented.Just one female, the Labour MP and minister Angela Eagle, made it into the top 10, with another four in the top 50.Margot James, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Stourbridge and party vice-chair, is at number 17, while Margaret Smith, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh West, is at number 32.